The following is an excerpt from Ray Sanchez | January 11, 2017 | CNN.com |
(CNN)Taiwan on Wednesday deployed fighter jets, a surveillance aircraft and Navy frigates in response to the movement of China's lone aircraft carrier into the Taiwan Straits, according to Taiwan's state-run Central New Agency.
The Liaoning carrier and its flotilla of escorting frigates and destroyers were apparently on their way back to base in northeastern China from the South China Sea following training exercises, the agency reported.
The Chinese vessels moved through waters off Shantou in the southeastern Chinese province of Guangdong early Wednesday morning and continued north, CNA reported, citing the defense ministry.
The agency said the ships remained "west of the median line of the Taiwan Strait," or closer to mainland China.
Amid rising tensions between the two, the Liaoning carrier and its escorts were expected to take about 10 hours to traverse the strait, the news agency reported.
Taiwan's President Tsai Ing-wen, who is in Nicaragua as part of a Central American tour, has been briefed about the situation and requested that officials in Taipei closely monitor the movements of the Chinese vessels, CNA said.
The Liaoning carrier's J-15 fighter jets last month practiced air confrontations and air refueling in the Yellow Sea late before the ship and its flotilla headed into the open Pacific beyond Taiwan and Okinawa.
China's state-run Global Times media agency published an editorial on Christmas Day, timed to coincide with the aircraft carrier Liaoning's maneuvers.
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